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Question about lights and timers in winter

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by switters, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. switters

    switters In the Brooder

    Nov 3, 2008
    Our girls are about five months old now. We live in Northern California. Right now it gets light at about 7:00 and dark at about 5:30. I've read that hens need 14 hours of light per day for optimal laying. I've also read that hens that come to maturity in the winter won't start laying until the following spring.

    We'd like to put a light and a timer in the coop to extend the daylight hours. I think we'll have it turn on at 4:00 AM and turn off at 7:00 AM. That will give us 13.5 - 14 hours of light.

    My question is, what wattage should the light bulb be? Any other considerations?


  2. fivestring

    fivestring Songster

    Nov 15, 2008
    Nashville Georgia
    I use 75 watt bulbs in two positions so it shines directly on the birds where they roost for the night. My lights come on at 5:00 am and go off at 7:30. I didn't run the lights until I saw egg production from 8 hens drop from avg 6 per day to 3-4 per day. 7-8 days after starting the lights, I was back up to 6 per day.

    You could probably get away with 60 watts or maybe less. A set of car headlights sweeping across the roost gets the roos up and crowing, even at 2 or 3 am.[​IMG]
  3. MIKE555444

    MIKE555444 Songster

    Jun 8, 2009
    Pliny, West Virgina
    I use a 100watt bulb

  4. 100W will do a 10 x 10' coop, I have a 250 W bulb and use it because of our latitude and because I had one on hand...if a large coop, adjust accordingly.

    The farther north, the more wattage needed, of course depending on your windows and reflective surfaces...[​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009
  5. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    It doesn't take much. Bright light isn't necessary. Enough so that you can just read a newspaper is sufficient. Don't add the additional light all at once though. Add 30 minutes a week until they are all laying or until you reach the total hours that you want.

    After that you will need to adjust the clock as necessary to maintain that 14 hours with the changing sunset times.
  6. HLAC

    HLAC Songster

    Aug 24, 2009
    Central Utah
    I've been using a 15 watt flourescent light in my little 7' x 4' coop. I leave it on 24/7. So far my 8 old hens are still giving me 4 or 5 eggs a day. I might bump up to higher wattage for some warmth later in the year.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009
  7. gkeesling

    gkeesling Songster

    Nov 24, 2008
    Hagerstown, IN
    I use a 60W bulb for the coop. I started out with a 100W but that was just way to bright. I also hooked up a flood light that lights up part of the run. My hens get off their roosts and are out pecking around at 4:00 in the morning. I have eggs by about 8:00 a.m.

  8. The Chicken People

    The Chicken People Songster

    May 4, 2009
    Smithville, Mo
    I am using a 40 w bulb and I have it on a timer on at 4 am off at 7 pm
    Been working fine but egg production down last few days..thought colder weather may be a factor..I think I will change to a 60 w bulb!
  9. mdbokc

    mdbokc Songster

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    I use 2 60w in a 8 x 12 walk-in coop. But I angle the light so that the nests have no direct light on them. I have a 7w night light that comes on 15 minutes before the main lights and goes off 15 minutes after the main lights go out at night. I like the idea not hitting them with a complete light change all at once. And that way, the girls don't get caught off the roosts and the lights go completely out at once.
  10. clport

    clport Songster

    May 21, 2009
    Oregon City, OR
    I live near Portland, OR, so we're in a similar situation to the OP. Just last week I installed a string of clear rope lights inside the coop. The timer is set for them to go on at 4:00 am and off at 7:30am. I'll adjust it as needed as we get further into winter. My coop is 4x8 and I put the lights around the top inside frame of the coop, just under the peaked roof rafters. Gives a nice glow to the girls in the morning. I'm glad I told my neighbor about it before he saw the lights, though, 'cause they make it look like the coop is on fire through the little windows in the walls. My 6 month old girls are just starting to lay, so I wanted to give them all the help I could. [​IMG]

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